MARBLEHEAD — The Magicians (1-2-2) got their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Tanners (2-1-1) on Monday at a rainy Piper Field. Marblehead’s two early goals in the first half were enough to keep 10-man Peabody at arm’s length.
Six minutes into the game, Marblehead won the ball in the midfield and began to counter. Junior Jack Burke got the ball and played a well-timed through ball to Kyle Hart. Hart, without hesitation, buried his shot into the bottom left corner to open the scoring.
Magicians coach Elmer Magana was impressed with the goal.
“It’s a striker’s finish,” Magana said. “We practice striking with their left and right foot because you never know which foot you’ll need. Kyle is one of the few who has been able to develop a strike with his left and his right foot.”
Five minutes later, it was again Burke finding Hart and Hart’s low-driven shot snuck underneath the goalkeeper’s gloves to make it 2-0 with 28:03 left in the half.
“Kyle has been asking me how he can improve his game. I told him if he can win the 50/50 balls that would improve his game,” Magana said. “That’s what he did today. He fought for them and he was able to put away his shots.”
“Our defense could have played better for those two goals, especially the second one,” Tanners coach Stan McKeen said. “It was bad enough that we made a mistake on the ball, then the ball slid underneath our goalies gloves.”
For Magana, the game plan was to start strong and fast.
“We knew that Peabody was one of the three undefeated teams in the conference. We got our guys ready to be mentally and physically prepared,” Magana said. “We were ready to give 110%. If we didn’t come out of the gates, Peabody would roll over us because they’ve been rolling over the rest of the competition. I’m very happy with how our guys played.”
The game went from bad to worse for Peabody. Toward the end of the first half, Peabody had a corner kick. After the kick was taken, the ref blew his whistle and brandished a red card to Yanni Pappas for an alleged elbow.
The halftime whistle went and the Tanners had to make even more adjustments now playing down a man.
“I don’t think he deserved a red card,” McKeen said. “If anything, give him a yellow card.”
Despite only having ten men, the Tanners started the second half strong. Peabody started to fire off shots at Marblehead and forced the team back into its box.
Luckily for the Magicians, they had junior captain Rory Zampese between the sticks. Zampese made countless saves to preserve the Magicians’ lead.
“This is probably one of the best games he’s had this season,” Magana said. “I’m extremely happy for him. Multiple colleges asking for his services. He’s a junior so he can only get better. We hope to have more of these performances in the future.”
Peabody, however, did get a goal back. Senior Abu Kaba showed off his speed getting by two Magicians before getting brought down in the penalty box. The ref awarded Peabody with a penalty kick. Kaba took the shot himself and slotted it in the bottom corner to get a goal back for Peabody (2-1).
“He’s a great talent and great skill. Sometimes he tries to take on too many people, but he did well to draw the penalty,” McKeen said.
Peabody kept the pressure on Marblehead, but the defense stayed strong, holding the Tanners to just one goal to earn themselves the first win.
“Our center-backs did a phenomenal job containing the middle attack,” Magana said. “Our outside backs were able to contain their width and Peabody’s number seven (Kaba).”
“We played three games, and in two of them we came out flat in the first half like we did today,” McKeen said. “I thought we played well in the second half but we dug ourselves into a two-goal hole. Trying to dig out of a hole in the second half on a field when it’s wet and rainy isn’t easy.”
The Magicians next game is on the road, when they take on Saugus on Wednesday. Peabody will look to bounce back on Wednesday when they host Gloucester.